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A Selection of Mystic Poetry

Hello friends, extended family and deepest commonality. I’ve taken a departure from my focus on politics, economics and global issues to draw my attention to the centre of my chest, to study that mystery that the Sufi’s called the unfolding of the heart.

My travels have taken me through some truly ineffable moments, along the wiggly paths of the philosophy of Alan Watts, and recently head over heels into the ecstatic moonlight of 13th century Persian mystic Rumi, and his mysterious friend and companion, Shamz of Tabriz.

To set the stage for some of my own poetry, and to give credit where credit is due for the seemingly inexhaustible well of inspiration left by these two men, I’ll tell you a little about their lives.

Rumi was born in 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan, before emigrating to Konya in Turkey to escape invading Mongol armies. He studied theology, and came to have a following of dedicated disciples. Sometime in the late fall of 1244, Rumi met a strange man, who put to him a question. The man was Shams of Tabriz, and the question he asked:

“Who, master, is greater, Muhammad, or Bestami?”

Rumi replied that Muhammad was greater, as Bestami’s thirst had been sated by a sip of the divine, whereas Muhammad’s desire ran free flowing, like a river. Rumi was taken by a sudden understanding of the meaning behind the question, and it is said he was struck by it enough to collapse and lose consciousness.

After he awoke, he and Shams secluded themselves for forty days, and spoke to no-one.

Rumi wrote many poems to his friend, about him, hinting at him. The Sufis say there are three paths to god. The first is prayer, a step up from that, meditation, and a step up again, conversation. There is much in human friendship still unexplored. In a sense, when Rumi speaks, he is speaking to that one he calls the Friend.

Here is one of Rumi’s poems I find to be particularly moving in the mood of today.

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

On that note, a few of my own, to all of you, with love.

Welcome Home, Brahman

I have something to say to you, dear one

listen to me,

it is the rustle of leaves and the bright yellow sound of sunlight tapping on white paint, it is the laughter of babes!

it is the great beast with countless arms and eyes who is everywhere and nowhere, whose breath raises, mountain, and falls, valley!

“it” is pouring sweet ambrosia into the heart of man!

Let open the chest and let your heart pour out into the street!

pull back three eyelids and stare into the sun! white light! white light! radiant light! pure!

cast off the one you think you are! burn it and scatter it! forget it! remember it and toss it to the winds!

tend to the flame in the centre of the chest! feed it ego, it’s thirst is never sated!

it is waves! it is motion! it is alive!

ram! whose love is the cycles of trees! ram! whose mind is glacial melt! ram! whose breath is pollen and insect song! ram! whose gaze is nuclear fire!

sri ram! jai ram! jai jai ram!

ram! whose becoming is light, light, glorious light! ram! whose dying breath is stillness! ram! sweet ram!

union! let the lines grow soft!

I am dance of shadows on ceiling!

I am the formation of mountains!

I am rushing, thunderous rumble of game set afoot!

I am purifying heat of wisdom heart opening to hold all in perfect Love!

I am invisible hand, stretches out, touches other!

I am ancient, no time, ever now!

I am dreaming self!

I am he who knocks on inside of chest!

I am generation, creation!

I am thought, that starts a thousand tales!

I am here, now, in living room, in Love!

I am joyous laughter of self-recognition!

I am drama, mask, cast and stage!

Praise be that I am! Joy that I am! Glory that I am! Here, inside!

Union! Let the lines grow soft!

Let chest open and fold all forms into lover’s embrace! Let knowing cease!

No clinging! No need!

Union! Let the lines grow soft!

Here! Now! In Love!

I am!

You are!

We are!
Here! Now! In Love!

Here’s a tribute to those two great friends from Persia.

An Ode to Jalaluddin, A Wet, Sparkling Tear for Shams

What is the soul? I cannot stop asking…

I try to pin it down, it slips away, maybe words can’t capture the right feel today

Is it the way the wind rustles the leaves into gutter alleys and cul de sacs between the bricks?
Or the heat spreading from my chest?

What is the difference between these two processes?
When I look, I cannot find any.

How brilliant it is to sit inside on a cloudy day, and remember the taste of frost on your cheeks.

Go outside, and make love to the frost! Hold her in your pores, watch her melt with the simplest love that winter holds for the always-summer of life!

How do I trust this?!

Take a step.

There is a raucous quietness in the chest.

The drummer is halfway through the downbeat, the wind is filling the cellist’s lungs. The trembling is none other than the violinist’s bow gathering momentum for the sweetest of releases.

Set it loose!

What are you afraid of that can be said to be outside of you?

You have spent your life running from fear, thinking you are making good ground on terror.

Let it catch up!

All fear shakes loose are the satchels of lead you have strung to the spirit, knotted into the self in defence.

Relax into your own natural alchemy.

Why this ache? This longing? It is its own answering.
We ache to meet ourselves in sweetness. The soul cries out for longing, longs for crying, cries for long nights spent in wanting for the touch of the beloved.

What flatness can colour her cheeks pink? There is no excitement on a featureless plane!

Find the road less travelled and surreptitiously unscrew the wheel bolts! The hills are singing out your name and there are thickets hidden in their breasts shivering for a layer-down!

Do you remember yet?

Ah, perhaps you caught a little.

Look into the centre of the heart. It is a small portal, as is the eye.

Tell me, what do you see?

When I look, I remember everything, and forget myself, remember myself and forget everything.

What is the soul? I cannot stop asking…

And finally, the rushing of water…

Listen to the Laughter of the River

We build a wall to keep out a thousand armies
The same wall keeps two friends apart

Two lovers fingertips cry out for joining
And see,
Only stone

What safety is worth this distance?

Listen to the laughter of the river
It knows not from whence it came,
It cares not for where it ends up

It knows itself
Only when it touches the riverbank

And gets stopped for a moment
In the silence of an eddy
Or tidal pool

Here, it listens to the great joy of the river
from afar
until that joy overflows

And, laughing
overflows with it

 

4 comments

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  1. oldoldwoman

    Unfold your heart. Let out the love as you let it in. If only the world would realise that in the end, it really is only love that matters. Thanks Rob, loving your poetry <3

  2. donwreford

    A relief and holiday from Tony Abbott and his club also a break from the terrorist news and so on possible if more stuff such as this language used would be more beneficial than hearing the latest stock exchange news.

  3. John Lord

    Some nice lines in there.

  4. Susan

    Divine…… Thank you

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